Through interviews and on-the-spot reporting, this book tells the story of the displacement of people and towns in Mexico and Latin America, traces their migration to the U.S., documents the systematic denial of their rights in the U.S., and describes the new coalitions which are bringing about a change in U.S. immigration and trade policy.
A veteran photojournalist explores the human side of globalization and argues for new ways to think about and legislate around immigration For two decades photojournalist David Bacon has documented the connections between labor, migration, and the global economy. In Illegal People Bacon exposes the many ways globalization uproots people in Latin America and Asia, driving them to migrate. At the same time, U.S. immigration policy makes the labor of those displaced people a crime in the United States. Bacon makes his case through interviews and on-the-spot reporting both from impoverished communities abroad and from immigrant workplaces and neighborhoods here. He analyzes NAFTA's corporate tilt as a cause of displacement and migration from Mexico and shows that criminalizing immigrant labor also benefits employers. He argues that immigration and trade policy are elements of a single economic system. Bacon traces the development of illegal status back to slavery and shows the human cost of treating the indispensable labor of millions of migrants--and the migrants themselves--as illegal.Illegal People argues for a sea change in the way we think, debate, and legislate around issues of migration and globalization, promoting a human rights perspective throughout a globalized world. David Bacon is the conscience of American journalism: an extraordinary social documentarist in the rugged humanist tradition of Dorothea Lange, Carey McWilliams, and Ernesto Galarza. --Mike Davis